Amazon to raise average hourly pay by $1 to $19 in October

NEW YORK - Amazon said Wednesday it is raising its average starting wage for frontline workers from $18 to $19 an hour, which could help it attract more employees in a tight job market as the holiday season approaches.

Amazon said that starting in October, warehouse and transportation workers will earn between $16 and $26 an hour, depending on their location and location in the United States. Minimum wage at the Seattle e-commerce company, which employs nearly 1.5 million workers as of the end of June, will remain at $15 an hour.

The pay increase follows an announcement from Amazon that it will hold an event similar to Prime Day shopping in October, the first time it has achieved a significant increase in sales twice a year, following its Prime Day deals event in July. Target and Walmart also said last week that they will offer holiday deals or return gifts in October to accommodate cash-strapped consumers expected to shop early and distribute their spending for the holiday season.

The company is also offering a wage increase amid growing union movement within its warehouses, spurred by workers’ complaints about wages and working conditions. Next month, Amazon warehouse workers in upstate New York will vote in a union election after an organizational campaign led by the Amazon Workers Union, a grassroots group of former and current Amazon workers who scored a union victory at a Staten Island warehouse in April. The fledgling union then lost a subsequent election in a nearby warehouse.

Amazon raised its average hourly wage to $18 an hour last year. She said the new increase would cost her $1 billion next year.

Separately, the company said that its wage access program, Anytime Pay, will also change to allow employees to get paid more than once or twice a month.